Putin scrambles as Russia starts manufacturing Iranian kamikaze drones

Russia has begun to domestically manufacture “kamizake” drones modelled off the Iranian Shahed UAV which the Russian military has been importing in bulk for use in Ukraine.

The latest Ministry of Defence briefing released on Wednesday (August 16) details the Kremlin’s attempts to build a more robust supply network for the drones by setting up a domestic manufacturing hub.

According to the MoD, Russia is looking to become totally self-sufficient in the attack drones within months. However, in the meantime, Russia remains reliant on Iranian shipments of parts and completed drones.

The Ministry of Defence update read: “Russia has almost certainly started to deploy domestically produced one-way attack Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (OWA-UAVs) based on Iranian Shahed designs.

Russian forces have been importing Iranian-made systems since September 2022.

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“Indigenous manufacturing will likely allow Russia to establish a more reliable supply of OWA-UAVs.

“The performance of these weapons has been variable and Ukraine has proved effective in neutralising the majority of incoming OWA-UAVs.

“Russia likely aims for self-sufficiency in OWA-UAVs in the coming months. However, in the interim, Russia remains reliant on components and whole weapons from Iran, primarily shipped via the Caspian Sea.”

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Russian forces unleashed a barrage of missiles on regions across Ukraine early Tuesday, killing civilians and damaging infrastructure.

The barrage came just hours before top Russian military officials and their counterparts from Asia, the Middle East and Africa gathered outside Moscow for a security conference, where the fighting in Ukraine is expected to dominate the agenda. Moscow’s war in Ukraine is nearing the 18-month mark.

The Ukrainian air force said Russia fired a total of 28 cruise missiles at the country. Sixteen were intercepted, it said in a statement.

“Deliberate large-scale attacks on civilians. Solely for the sake of killing and psychological pressure,” presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on X, formerly known as Twitter. Podolyak added that the barrage was “an undeniable manifestation” of Russia’s “terrorist activity, legally documented by numerous destructions and victims.”

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Six out of seven of the Russian-launched missiles hit the western region of Lviv, wounding 19 people, including a 10-year-old child, Lviv Gov. Maksym Kozytskyi reported. Forty buildings and houses were damaged in the region that borders Poland, including in the city of Lviv, and the power grid was also damaged.

In the neighbouring region of Volyn, three people were killed by a Russian missile strike and three others were injured, according to Oleksii Kuleba, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office.

In the western Ivano-Frankivsk region, missile debris hit a private house. In the southeastern Dnipropetrovsk region, two people were injured in the region’s capital.

Parts of the city of Smila in the central Cherkasy region were left without access to water after the Russian strikes. The attack damaged a medical facility as well as water and heat supply networks.

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